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BAMBI IN KABARET (article first published : 2007-05-27)

With Pieter-Dirk Uys as 'Madame Bambi Kellermann' and Godfrey Johnson at the piano, Rhumbelow Theatre will host two performances of Bambi in Kabaret.

While the controversial candidate for the Presidency in 2009, Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout, is presenting her manifesto in Evita for President from May 29 to June 10 at the Sneddon Theatre, her blonde sussie, Bambi Kellermann will appear in two Sunday performances of her cabaret show with Godfrey Johnson at the piano on June 3 and 10.

Bambi In Kabaret performed at Cape Town's Intimate Theatre during 2006 and critics have hailed it a milestone in Cape Town theatre and 'not to be missed!' It will be presented at this year's Grahamstown Festival of the Arts.

Bambi Kellermann (born Baby Poggenpoel) is the younger sister of Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout, the 'most famous white woman in South Africa'. Chalk and cheese. Whereas Evita has become a household name and favourite across political-party lines, Bambi smoulders in the background - not yet as famous as her sister, but far more dangerous.

She left Bethlehem in South Africa's Orange Free State in 1956 and went to Europe where she eventually married Joachim von Kellermann, a notorious Nazi survivor of the Second World War. In order to hide him from arrest, she took whatever job she could, in many cases verging on the pornographic. Eventually they reached Paraguay where von Kellermann found old SS friends. He became Minister of War. He has since died.

Bambi is back in the democratic South Africa. She runs a wine-tasting cellar in Paarl, sometimes referred to as nothing more than an excuse for a high-class brothel. It is known that she is HIV-positive. But with money and knowledge, she can live with her virus, as she did with her terrible secrets. She sings - well, she has been inspired to sing by many who also could not sing, but became famous for their singing: Marlene Dietrich, Hildgarde Knef and Zarah Leander, to name the German ones. She loves the music of Kurt Weill and Stephen Sondheim. And being an Afrikaner meisie at heart, finds any excuse to sing her favourite Boere Liedjies out of the FAK Sangbundel. But with a sinister twist.

This is what the Kabaret is about: her extraordinary story of survival told in song, her background echoed in familiar tunes, her inspirations gently mocked through canny impersonation. With Pieter-Dirk Uys as Bambi and with music arranged and played by Godfrey Johnson, the cabaret is performed in three languages. Bambi's story is told in English, while the songs also include some in German and some in Afrikaans. This cabaret is not for the faint-hearted. It unites the acrid stench of the old Weimar Republic of the 1930s and the sexy rot of Hamburg's Reperbahn with the familiar aromas associated with 'ons eie' Voortrekker-camps and braaivleis-orgies.

Dreamed up by Pieter-Dirk Uys, this extraordinary scenario allows him to show a further side of his extensive versatility.

Bambi In Kabaret runs at Rhumbelow Theatre on June 3 and 10 at 18h30. Tickets R100. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.

To book contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email roland@stansell.za.net or visit www.rhumbelow.za.net

Godfrey Johnson will also present his own cabaret shows at Rhumbelow: “Songs of Love and Lipstick” and “Behind Every Man - A Theatrical Cabaret” (see separate articles)




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